A new program to sustain lake health in The Land Between!
The Land Between charity in partnership with Watersheds Canada (makers of the Love your Lake program) are piloting the new Blue Lake ecolabel program for Cottage Country! It is poised to be the gold standard in lake stewardship.
The Land Between has spent 7 years in developing and testing a new interactive database that combines water quality data, with fisheries information, and shoreline development data. This new database can also accommodate Love Your Lake data and other data sets and it is able to receive and instantly process new data entered from lake stewards, landowners, anglers and biologists. The database can already assess trends, highlight issues, and also be used for research. For example, we have been able to test and highlight shifts in lake health for many lakes in Haliburton county, and allude to what areas within the lake that need attention. Therefore, too we can highlight stewardship actions that can be taken, in order to help maintain lake health.
“It is the first time in Ontario’s history that we have put all the key pieces of information that relate to lake health together in one digital warehouse.” Says Leora Berman, CEO of The Land Between charity. The database was developed with support of Sir Sandford Fleming geomatics students and using the best available science. It has been peer reviewed by a team of biologists from Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) and Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (OMOECC).
Now, The Land Between and Watersheds Canada are poised to pilot a new ecolabel called “Blue Lakes Program” that will use this database (and companion app) as a core part of its framework.
Lake associations that agree to adopt stewardship principles and actions will receive the ecolabel and with it, access to the database and app, as well as all the scientific data that is housed in the database related to their lake, and also the real-time information that it generates about their lake.
Ecolabel stewardship actions will include providing education to lake residents on best management practices, water quality monitoring, improving boating practices, and advancing natural shorelines on their lakes through planting projects.
While enrolled lakes are recognized under the label and have access to the database, the platform will also contain educational content and links to news, research, and resources, and other cool and emerging features such as the Natural Edge shoreline restoration app. Enrolled lakes will also have ready access to ongoing stewardship programs, such as The Land Between’s Design Your Own Shoreline Garden
Before launching the program across the region and beyond, the team are looking to partner with interested lake associations in order to pilot the program, to ensure that it is state of the art and effective.
Both Leora Berman and Watersheds Canada, Executive Director, Barbara King, agree that there are many benefits to cooperation under this new program; “This new project is a perfect complement to the Love Your Lake Program that has been so successful in raising awareness about lake health in Ontario. It is a stewardship-based ecolabel that combines the best of science and modern technology. We hope that it will empower landowners to take informed actions in order to sustain the health of our lakes for the foreseeable future.”
If your lake association is interested in piloting the ecolabel, or for more information, contact Leora Berman or Barb King by visiting www.bluelakes.ca